Practical information on what to plant, and fire risk tips for people living in rural areas.

Fire and Emergency New Zealand has advice on understanding your fire risk and protecting your property from fire.

Weed control is essential

Plant pests, or weeds, are one of the greatest threats to biodiversity in New Zealand. Weeds can prevent natural regeneration of natives as well as impact established forest on neighbouring lands.

Unfortunately, weeds are often more efficient than natives in establishing after a fire. Gorse, blackberry and Californian thistle are coming back in force on burnt areas and need to be controlled so that quick-growing natives such as bracken and poroporo can establish instead. These natives provide an important role in stabilising the soils while still allowing for seeds dispersed by birds to establish and grow.

Weed control and ongoing plant maintenance are critical to the success of any restoration planting.

Advice on how to identify and control weeds can be found at link).

Erosion and sediment control

Environment Canterbury has a guide on options for erosion and sediment control [PDF, 894 KB] and advice on when consents might be needed for fire recovery work [PDF, 53 KB]

What to plant

Planting fast-growing native species that are found naturally on the Port Hills will provide habitat for native wildlife and a seed source for natural regeneration, as well as shelter for larger, slower-growing natives such as tōtara (Podocarpus totara).

There can be an amazing amount of variety between the same species of plant growing in different areas; in form, size and leaf shape. By growing plants specific to different ecological areas we protect this diversity. The plants are also more likely to survive as they are specifically adapted to the conditions at this site.

Eco-sourcing ensures genetic purity by growing plants from seeds or cuttings collected from their original habitat or source.

Ten native plants natural to the Port Hills:

  • Austroderia richardii – South Island toetoe
  • Coprosma lucida – karamū
  • Cordyline australis – ti kōuka/cabbage tree
  • Corokia cotoneaster – korokio/wire-netting brush
  • Dodonea viscosa – green akeake
  • Hebe salicifolia and Hebe strictissima – koromiko
  • Hoheria angustifolia – narrow-leaved lacebark
  • Myoporum laetum – ngaio
  • Olearia paniculata – golden akeake
  • Pittosporum tenuifolium – kohuhu

For more information visit:

Planting for protection

Under the right conditions, any plant will burn but some plants are less flammable than others. You can create a ‘green firebreak’ by using low-flammable plants.

Poroporo (Solanum laciniatum) is quick-growing and has very low flammability. It’s not normally used in restoration projects but it will quickly provide ground cover to help suppress gorse and other weeds. Other species can be planted later and will start to naturally suppress the poroporo as they grow.

Ten green firebreak plants natural to the Port Hills:

  • Coprosma propinqua – mingimingi 
  • Coprosma robusta – karamū
  • Fuchsia excorticata – kotukutuku/fuchsia
  • Griselinia littoralis – kapuka/broadleaf
  • Melicytus ramiflorus – mahoe/whiteywood
  • Myrsine australis – māpou/matipou
  • Pennantia corymbosa – kaikōmako
  • Ripogonum scandens – kareao/supplejack
  • Pseudopanax arboreus – whauwhaupaku/five finger
  • Pseudopanax crassifolius – horoeka/lancewood

Note that some species will require shelter from frosts or wind. Visit link) for guidance.

Recommended nurseries

These nurseries stock eco-sourced native plants. Motukarara and Wai-ora Landscapes only stock local eco-sourced plants.

Trees for Canterbury also stock variegated natives and cultivars so ask their friendly staff for advice when purchasing.

Nursery Address Opening hours Contact details


Waihora Park
Christchurch 7672
Monday to Friday, 8am to 4pm
Saturday, 10am to 3pm in May and Sept
03 329 7846 (external link)
Trees for 
42 Charlesworth St

Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm
Saturday & Sunday, 9am to 4pm

03 982 1028 link)
(external link)